6.16.2017

SHARE THE ROAD - WITH FARMERS, TOO!

The other day, I was stuck a couple cars back from a tractor on its way from one field to the next. I was on my way home from work, and I was definitely ready to be home, but there was something about slowing down and knowing I was done for the day while this farmer still had plenty to do helped me to take a deep breath. It was evident that I was the only one who thought this.

The driver directly behind the farmer was tailgating so close I'm not even sure the farmer could see the car back there. The other cars were tailgating him, obviously in a rush to get where they were going. Car after car passed the tractor, some cutting it way too close for comfort to the oncoming traffic. By the time I was the one directly behind, my turn was coming up so I stayed put. I'm sure the people behind me loved me for it, but I don't care.

It's time for wheat harvest in North Carolina and soon it will be time to plant soybeans. You (obviously) see an increase in farm equipment out on the roads during this time of the year. Those of us who have grown up in sleepy, rural towns don't mind the slow-moving tractors (slow-moving being relative- have you ever been in a combine at 20 miles per hour? You might as well be on the autobahn). There has been, however, an influx of people who grew up removed from agriculture moving to communities that are still farming towns at their heart. This is true for Johnston County because of our close proximity to Raleigh. You can live here for much cheaper with a short commute to work, but along with that comes the culture. And the culture in the summer time revolves around fields of corn, tobacco, wheat, and beans. The "city-folk" sometimes just don't understand that.

Here's the thing to remember: farmers want to get home just as bad as you do. But guess what? They probably don't get to. They'll be out in the field sun-up to sun-down trying to get the crops harvested before the next storm rolls in. Farmers want to get to work just as bad as you do. Farmers want to see their wife or husband or kids just as bad as you do. Just like you have busy times at work, this is their busy time.

So put down your phone. Watch the road. Slow down. Don't tailgate (anyone- especially a tractor). Pass with care. Take a deep breath and find some patience.

Farmers typically will move over whenever they can to let cars behind them go. They respect you on the road, so respect them back. Vehicle-tractor accidents are more frequent than we like to think and they are often fatal for both parties involved. Nothing is too important to put both your life and other's lives at risk. Tractors are heavy machinery, but a vehicle traveling at a much higher rate of speed can easily flip a tractor or sprayer, jack-knife a planter they are pulling, run them off the road, or any other horrific accident you can think of.

I worry every time Harrison is on the road in the combine or pulling the planter- and, if I'm being honest, when he is in the tractor in the field, when he is near the tractor, and when he's doing anything on the farm because y'all - farming is DANGEROUS. I always make sure to say a prayer for him and the other farmers out there doing what they have to do so that we can eat.

And if you're passing a farmer going opposite directions- throw him or her a wave. Kindness goes a long way, especially for the people who bless us with bread and potatoes.


Just for fun- harvesting soybeans with Harrison last fall!

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